Jed Smith 50k

Last year, after running the Jedediah Smith 50k, I said to myself that I probably would not run this race again and that I would rather, "sit in the sun and drink beer and watch everyone else run by me 6 times." Unfortunately, this year it was supposed to rain, so I signed up for the race again.

It is a 4.9 mile loop on the American River Bike Path that you do 6 times, plus a little out and back at the beginning to bring the total up to 31 miles. However, as I mentioned in this post, it is the first Pacific USA Track and Field (PAUSATF, otherwise known as "PA") race of the year, and after having some down time in December, it's fun to get the season started, to see some of your racing buddies, and to get the legs moving.

The course is set up so that the start/finish line is in the parking lot of the park, so you can park your car and open up the back and have a personal "aid station" right there in the parking lot. That is what we did.

Car Aid Station and Finish Line Party

Although it was supposed to rain the entire morning, it actually only sprinkled on us a few times. It was also very warm and humid, as opposed to last year, when it was quite chilly! Since I had sprained my ankle a few weeks back and was still taking it easier on myself, I went into this race with the attitude that I would just run it at a steady easy pace and that if I felt ANY pain, I would stop and walk or just not finish at all. It's not worth injuring myself worse just to finish a silly race.

The first out and back was fun, as you see everyone in front of and behind you. It is about a mile and a half long in total. It got back to the start line in 13:19.  Then the loops start....

Loop 1 and 2 (58:13 and 44:31 / 8:49 and 9:05/mi): I ran both of these with a friend, and we kept up an easy conversation as we ran along. These miles went by quickly, until she stopped to go to the restroom and I carried on.

Loop 3 (44:09 / 9:01/mi): I put on my headphones in order to dull the boredom. I got lapped by two of the lead runners at the beginning of this loop. I remember thinking that last year I was nearer to the end of this loop when they lapped me.

Loop 4 (45:44 / 9:20/mi): My headphones died, leaving me with nothing. I kept getting passed by the lead runners, and it was fine, but it did keep reminding me that I was not running as fast as I should be.

Loop 5 (46:52 / 9:34/mi): As I started this loop, my ankle was starting to feel a little stiff. It wasn't really in pain, but I was starting to baby it, and this caused the other side of my foot to start to ache. On top of this, the fact that I hadn't run in three weeks was catching up to me. I told myself that if I could just finish this last loop, which would take me to a marathon distance, in less than 4 hours, I would walk the last loop. I got to the end of the fifth loop at 3:59.

Loop 6 (53:24 / 10:54/mi): As I neared the end of loop five, a friend said to me, "hurry and finish so you can have some soup", and in my mind I was thinking that I really could not wait, but on the other hand, now I was going to walk! I started to walk along and in my mind I was doing running math: if I walked a 15 minute mile, it would take me about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the end; if I ran a 10 minute mile, I could be done in 50 minutes. So I started to run once again.

A bit of a puddle

I finished in 4:52, which is about a half an hour slower than last year. However, I felt pretty good, aside from some soreness in the bottoms of my feet, which haven't been used as much lately as they normally have. I came in 4th in my age group. What I didn't know is that I was only 1 minute behind the 3rd place girl and 3 minutes behind 2nd place. If only I hadn't walked on that last lap!

The best part about the race was that we sat around afterward eating and drinking beers and watching everyone else come in and it only rained on us a little bit. I used to head home right after I raced, but one of the things I have learned over the years is that we don't run these for the race itself; we run them for the after party!

So, another Jed Smith in the books. Will I run it again? I want to say no, but the answer is probably yes.

Have you ever repeated a race? Do you stay after races or do you go home right away? 


  1. Well I am impressed that your time was as good as it was considering you are injured and haven't ran in a couple of weeks! I am glad that your ankle didn't give you too much trouble and that you didn't have to run this in a down pour.

    There aren't many races I have repeated, although I will be repeating the Twin Cities marathon this year. The first time I did it was 2006, though, so it feels like a distant memory! And I definitely high tail it out of races when they are over as I rarely seem to know anyone and I usually just want to be out of there when it's done!

  2. nice! Well done K. hitting trails in the rain always creates more fun, glad you were able to avoid it this time. It sounds like a blast of a course, was it a fat ass?

  3. Nice job!! Never say never. :-)

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